If you haven’t seen Chris Haddock’s Canadian crime series Intelligence, you are missing one of the best shows on TV. It’s not available in most parts of the US, unfortunately, though folks close to the Canadian border can often pick it up from Canadian stations. But now the first season is available on stateside on DVD and it is well worth checking out.
To say that Chris Haddock’s Canadian TV series “Intelligence” is as good as any American crime show is unfair to Haddock. It’s better, smarter and more sophisticated than its American counterparts, more clever in its tangle of narratives and less showy in a visual style. Set in the shipping hub of Vancouver, British Columbia (the home of Haddock’s previous series, “Da Vinci’s Inquest”), “Intelligence” is a domestic espionage show about the groundwork of intelligence agents after the kind of international crime that Jack Bauer is too busy to bother with: gun running, drug smuggling, human trafficking. It’s also about the working of local crime with international reach, in particular Vancouver crime boss and marijuana smuggler Jimmy Reardon (Ian Tracey, of “Da Vinci’s Inquest”), who plays informant for the ambitious head of the Organized Crime Unit, Mary Spalding (Klea Scott) in a quid pro quo exchange of information.
Here’s a digest of the other DVD releases featured on my MSN column.
I don’t really know what to make of Todd Rohal’s eccentric, circuitous, freewheeling comedy, which is probably what I like most about it. You could say it’s about a pregnant young woman (Sheila Scullin) with a broken arm, a boyfriend (Will Oldham) gone walkabout, and a dream to drive in the demolition derby, but that doesn’t come close to capturing the unusual flavor and oddball charm.
TV: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Three and Bernard and Doris with Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes.
Special Releases: Anthony Mann’s The Fall of the Roman Empire (not the director’s best film, but surely one of the most gorgeous and grand historical epics ever made) and the DVD debut of the 1956 classic short fantasy The Red Balloon:
One of the most famous short films ever made,‘s delightful 1956 fantasy follows the adventures of a boy and his balloon, which has a mind and a heart of its own. … The transfer is so vivid that the balloon seems to pop from the screen, glowing luminous red against the gray of Paris streets and skies.